Northwest Arkansas Pool Builders

What’s the difference between fiberglass and gunite pools?

When it comes to creating your dream backyard oasis, choosing the right type of pool is a pivotal decision. Among the myriad options available, gunite and fiberglass pools stand out as popular choices, each with its unique set of advantages and considerations. In this article, we delve into the differences between gunite and fiberglass pools to help you make an informed decision for your aquatic haven.

Construction Material

Gunite Pools: Gunite pools are constructed using a mixture of cement, sand, and water that is sprayed onto a framework of steel rebar. This allows for a highly customizable shape and size, making gunite a favorite among those who desire a bespoke pool design.

Fiberglass Pools: Fiberglass pools, on the other hand, are pre-manufactured shells made from reinforced plastic. These shells are factory-molded and transported to the installation site. While fiberglass pools offer less flexibility in terms of customization, they are known for their smooth, non-porous surface.

Installation Time

Gunite Pools: Constructing a gunite pool typically involves a longer installation time compared to fiberglass pools. The process includes excavation, steel framework installation, gunite application, curing time, and finishing touches. This can take several weeks to complete.

Fiberglass Pools: Fiberglass pools, being pre-fabricated, have a quicker installation process. Once the excavation is completed, the fiberglass shell is lowered into place, and the pool can be operational relatively faster than gunite pools. The installation of a fiberglass pool can often be completed in a matter of days.


Gunite Pools: Gunite pools are known for their durability and longevity. The concrete mixture, along with the steel reinforcement, creates a robust structure that can withstand various weather conditions and ground movements. However, over time, the porous nature of gunite may require additional maintenance to prevent staining and algae growth.

Fiberglass Pools: Fiberglass pools have a smooth, non-porous surface that resists algae growth and reduces the need for chemical usage. While the fiberglass shell is durable and flexible, it can be susceptible to cracks if the ground undergoes significant shifts. Proper installation and backfilling are crucial to ensuring the longevity of a fiberglass pool.

Maintenance and Repairs

Gunite Pools: Gunite pools may require more maintenance due to their porous surface, which can harbor algae and other contaminants. Additionally, periodic resurfacing may be necessary to address issues such as cracking, staining, or scaling.

Fiberglass Pools: Fiberglass pools generally require less maintenance because of their smooth, non-porous surface. However, if cracks or other damages occur, repairs can be more complex and may necessitate professional assistance.

Cost Considerations

Gunite Pools: While gunite pools offer a high level of customization, the initial installation cost is often higher due to the labor-intensive construction process and the materials involved.

Fiberglass Pools: Fiberglass pools can be more cost-effective in terms of initial installation. However, the overall cost may vary depending on the size, shape, and additional features.


Ultimately, the choice between gunite and fiberglass pools boils down to personal preferences, budget constraints, and specific requirements. Gunite pools offer unparalleled design flexibility and durability, while fiberglass pools are known for their faster installation and lower maintenance needs. By weighing the pros and cons of each, you can make an informed decision to ensure your backyard oasis aligns with your vision and lifestyle.

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